West Bengal-based human rights group Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) has appealed to the state’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee to come to the rescue of twenty million people on the state’s border with Bangladesh .
MASUM secretary Kirity Roy said in a statement that the Indian Border Security Force have subjected the “marginalised communities on the border to torture and severe restriction .”
“More than two crores (20 million) people of the state of West Bengal are residing in this border. The whimsical restrictions imposed on these populace is illegal, unconstitutional and.. The people residing beyond the international fencing but inside Indian territory are suffering the most throughout the year as their entire life depends upon the discretion of the Border Security Force personnel.”
Roy said that the condition of these marginalised populace has worsened during the lockdown in India and Bangladesh .
He said that despite the Indian Home Ministry’s Order no 40-3/2020-DM-I(A)) dated 15th April, 2020, which clearly states that agriculture and horticulture should remain fully functional during this lock-down , the BSF have whimsically restricted the people on the border from cultivating their own fields.
“Previously the border gates were opened 3 times a day but now the Border Security Force personnel are opening the gates only once. Some border gates are permanently closed for the residents . Millions of people of West Bengal are residing behind the fencing and/or behind the BSF outposts.
“Under the circumstances the villagers residing at the West Bengal – Bangladesh border are reduced to severe penury,” Roy said in the statement.
On behalf of MASUM, Roy placed a three-point charter of demand to Mamata Banerjee on the eve of her
scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 27. The demands are as below :
· BSF should be posted at the international border, within 150 yards, not inside villages.
· BSF have to follow Ministry of Home Affairs Order no. – 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 15th April, 2020 in line, particularly paragraph 6
· Illegal restrictions, torture, killing, enforced disappearances by BSF upon bordering populace should be treated as crime; and police should act according to law, without impunity.
Roy and MASUM which he leads have been a relentless voice seeking justice for the border people whose share a common language and culture but have become the ‘worst victims of Partition.’